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Archive for the ‘Project Participants’ Category

Enrique Fernández could be called an anomaly within the group of Start-Up Chile participants as he is one of the few people from South America taking part in the program.  But, namely, he is the standout Chilean who has been granted the sizable subsidy to further develop his business, SupplierSync.  Though Start-Up Chile is an initiative that seeks to import exclusively foreign entrepreneurs to Chile, Enrique was granted approval into the program because he had been previously living in China, and then moved to Berlin, to complete an MBA at HTW University of Applied Sciences.  His ample foreign experience was complimented by the innovative and global aspects of SupplierSync and thus he was accepted into Start-Up Chile.

Enrique Fernández, SupplierSync

SupplierSync as he describes it, is a private social marketplace where suppliers and buyers meet to create trade opportunities through collaboration and was created in September of this year.  It is a “dating site for b2b companies” Enrique says (with a slight chuckle but in all seriousness), that was born out of his broad experience in sourcing activities seeing the need for buyers and vendors to have reliable partners.  Initially, his goal is to focus on the China-Chile market seeing has he already has an exportation company in China and, from there, transform it into a platform between China and South America and eventually to be used worldwide.

Originally, his idea was to work between the German and Chinese markets but then found that the Chilean market was a better fit, and as Enrique says, “it was the perfect starting point.”  On why he chose to return to Chile, he says that “it is the ideal launching platform and a smaller market than Germany but a perfect market for refining the business model and a future expansion,” immediately mentioning the importance of imports and exports in the Chilean market and that it is a “strategic point for South America.”  His plan for the next year is to become the number one online platform for trade opportunities for small and medium companies in South America and in, in three years, to be completely global.  To make headway towards these goals, he will travel to China in 2011 to take part in the China Import and Export Fair.

When asked how it feels to be the only Chilean in the Start-Up Chile group, he states: “I don’t feel like a Chilean.  I feel like one member of an international group and like someone who is trying to change the entrepreneurial mindset in Chile.”  Though he has been back in Chile for only a couple of weeks, he notes the importance of the program saying that it is a “very important process in Chile now” and that he is looking forward to imparting his foreign-acquired knowledge to his local peers.  Finally, he add that it is “a great challenge because I want to be at the top with the other guys.”

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Last week, Steve from CruiseWise visited his Alma Mater, Harvard Business School, to give a presentation about Start-Up Chile to eager students interested in following the footsteps of CruiseWise and the other 24 teams here in Chile.  There were nearly 30 alumni present from various student-run organizations such as the Energy & Environment Club, the Social Entrepreneurship Club, the Entrepreneurship Club, the TechMedia Club, the Latin America Club, and the Latino Student Club.

While giving a short presentation about the details of the program, Steve, joined by Diego May, CEO of Junar (the second team to arrive to Chile), expounded upon the unique experience of bootstrapping a business in Chile and how their company’s have drastically advanced during their short time with Start-Up Chile.  The pair was also joined by Nicolas Ibanez and Joseph Nejman from Tomorrow Ventures, helping to field some of the inquiries.

They were answering questions for nearly an hour after their presentation, most boiling down to the following inquiries:

“Do you need to be Chilean to be part of the program?”
“Do you need to focus on the Chilean market?”
“Why is the Chilean government doing this?”
“What strings are attached to the funding?”
“What have been the best parts of the program?”

To follow up a bit, we’d like to offer the responses corresponding to those questions.  Firstly, you do not have to be Chilean to participate.  In fact, you cannot participate if you are a resident of Chile and, currently, the 25 teams in Chile represent 14 different nationalities.  We enthusiastically encourage diversity.  Second, the idea of Start-Up Chile is to attract globally thinking business to Chile– it is fundamental that those who apply to the program be oriented towards the global market, focusing on expansion, not isolation.

Next, the Chilean Government has created Start-Up Chile in hopes of converting Chile into the innovation hub of Latin America, also with the desire to inspire local entrepreneurs to conceive their businesses, again, by thinking globally.  Participating in the program does not incur any strings attached.  Equity is not asked for, which has turned out to be one of the more attractive aspects of Start-Up Chile.   One of the few obligations is the the participating teams interact with the local entrepreneurship and innovative ecosystem by attending events, holding workshops, etc.  Finally, the best parts of the program are numerous– the inspiring synergies between participating teams and the local community, the jobs that are created, the advancements that are made, and the essential tools that are provided to the team in order to ensure their success.  CruiseWise put it best when they said: “Chile is taking this program very seriously. In two weeks we were able to create a network here which has already proven itself. The caliber of the people who are opening doors for us cannot be matched in our own home countries.”

To be sure not to miss these kinds of events that will be taking place around the world, please subscribe to our Twitter account and, of course, if there are any other questions, please feel free to send them to stgo@startupchile.org.

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Start-Up Chile 2010

What are you waiting for?

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Yesterday the Start-Up Chile participants and staff celebrated the partnership of two teams taking part in the 2010 program– Entrustet and Vendder, from the United States and Portugal respectively.  It is the first time in the short history of Start-Up Chile that a legal link has been made between a set of entrepreneurs and, surely, it will not be the last.  The partnership was chosen as a celebratory focus for the meetup event that is hosted every Thursday, this time in their name.

For a bit of background, Entrustet is a startup company made up of Nathan and Jesse, from Madison, Wisconsin, that deals with digital estate planning after one’s death and has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, and Mashable.  Their new partner, Vendder, was started by Tiago and Filipe and is a unique e-commerce solution for small businesses that is looking to expand into the Spanish speaking market after already having created the tools in English and Portuguese.  They have teamed together so that, in the case that one of Vendder’s store owners dies, their site will be protected by a digital will, created and insured by Entrustet.

Entrustet + Vendder: Partners in Life (and death)

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It was only natural that the  entrepreneurs participating in the Start-Up Chile program began to require local talent to add to their teams and to help minimize their substantial work loads.  With 17 teams already in Chile, the offers have been multiplying daily and something had to be done to remedy their urgency to hire.

In light of this, we are officially debuting Start-Up Chile’s brand new job portal that is part of Latin America’s largest talent recruitment engine, Trabajando.com, with sites in eleven countries from Chile, to Brazil, to Mexico, and Spain.  Trabajando has been working arduously with our staff to create a site that will allow the program participants to find the best available talent in a highly professional and competitive arena.

Yesterday, the portal was launched for the Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs and in the less than 24 hours it has been up and running there are already 15 job offers posted.  The teams searching for talent have their sights on various types of designers, business developers, and interns and are offering competitive salaries, flexible and youthful work settings, and the unique chance to work with a global, high-potential startup company in the dynamic Start-Up Chile environment.

If you are or someone you know might be interested, please click here for the site and it will take you directly to the job pool.

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In this video that was taken at a special welcome breakfast held by SOFOFA, the Chilean Federation of Industry, Cristobal Philippi, the CEO, welcomed the Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs by explaining what exactly the Federation entails, why they were invited, and how anxious the Chilean business and innovation community is to have them working in the country. Along with Mr. Philippi, at each table sat some of the most important businesspeople in Chile who attended from companies such as Telefónica, Coasin, Micrológica, and CAP Inc., who were all eagerly looking to network with and get to know the Start-Up Chile participants.

It was a fruitful event that allowed the entrepreneurs to see different lights of Chilean industry and for the CEOs to get back into touch with their entrepreneurial roots.

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As the 12th team to arrive in Chile to participate in the Start-Up Chile program, Raj touched down in Santiago with ease, barely showing signs of having flown from London and through Sao Paulo and onto the final destination.  He was selected on October 4th and has spent the time anticipating his arrival by contacting various Chilean developing and design firms to speed along his project’s process.   His week is already packed with meetings.

Raj + Eximforce Touch Down in Chile

The project that he will be developing during his time with Start-Up Chile is called Eximforce and is a real-time solution to shipping problems stemming from paperwork and ever-changing international legal frameworks that guide such large scale transactions.  He has been dutifully working on this idea since January and has chosen Chile as his launching pad, after having considered Singapore as another option.  It is his first time in South America, after having lived in Milan and London, and it is looking as if he will not have the slightest problem kicking off Eximforce and utilizing Start-Up Chile’s networks to get it off the ground.

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